Last Updated: Monday, 24 November 2014, 14:11 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Angola

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Angola, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7487a5.html [accessed 24 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The armed conflict in Angola from 1975 to 2002 severely affected children and limited government spending for social and educational programs.64 In 2001, the Government of Angola initiated a national registration system to document the age of children under 18, which is intended to enable military recruiters to adhere to minimum conscription age laws by verifying age documentation and to protect children from trafficking.65 In addition, the government created a Juvenile Judicial System to protect the rights of children and to secure their obligations under the law.66 In 2002, the Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration trained 1,070 child protection monitors who assisted approximately 43,000 children who had been separated from their families. Monitors ensured that the children, some of whom were working children and former child soldiers, were provided food, shelter and schooling, and monitors reunited some children with their families.67

In 1994, the Government of Angola and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) signed the Lusaka Protocol, which gave UNICEF and other organizations the responsibility for the establishment of rehabilitation programs for former child soldiers.68 Program activities have included locating relatives, arranging transportation, and reuniting the children with their families. The program also identifies school and job training opportunities for former child soldiers and prepares local communities to accept children who were engaged in armed conflict.69 Since the cessation of hostilities in February 2002 and with the cooperation of the government, the International Committee of the Red Cross has increased family reunification efforts, particularly for children pressed into service by UNITA, including child soldiers. 225 children had been reunited with their families under this program by the end of 2002, and an additional 750 are scheduled to be reunited by June 2003.70

The Ministry of Planning has initiated a vocational training and entrepreneurial development program for rural and peri-urban women. The program aims to develop and strengthen families of demobilized soldiers and returning refugees by making credit available for income generating activities and micro-enterprises.71 The National Children's Institute participated in the creation of a National Plan of Action and Intervention Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Angola.72 The World Food Program is implementing a two-year project to increase enrollment and improve attendance in primary schools around the country and to build local capacity to provide school feeding services.73

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2001, UNICEF estimated that 29.9 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Angola were working.74 In 2000, it was estimated that there were approximately 24,000 homeless street children living in Angola as a result of the civil conflict.75 Many of the girls are at high risk of sexual and other forms of violence.76 Other children work in subsistence agriculture, as domestic servants, as street vendors,77 and as beggars.78 Although both the government and the rebel militia of UNITA used children as soldiers, laborers, porters, camp followers, and sex slaves during the civil war, forced recruitment and abductions for forced labor and military service have stopped since the cease-fire agreement was signed in April 2002.79

Child trafficking, prostitution, pornography, forced labor, sexual slavery, and other forms of exploitation are reported to exist in the country.80 Angola is a country of origin for trafficked children. Children have been trafficked to South Africa to work in the commercial sex industry.81 In 2002, there were unconfirmed reports that Angolan children may have been trafficked to the United Kingdom via Portugal.82

Education in Angola is compulsory for eight years,83 and it is free of charge, although families are responsible for significant additional fees.84 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 90.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 57.2 percent.85 Roughly 75 percent of children who begin first grade reach the fifth grade,86 but only 6 percent of children are enrolled in secondary school.87 Girls have less access to education than do boys.88 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Angola. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.89 It is estimated that children make up roughly 2 million of the displaced population in Angola,90 and educational opportunities are extremely limited for displaced children and adolescents.91 A reported 40 percent of classrooms in Angola have been looted and destroyed, leading to problems of overcrowding. Other factors, such as landmines, lack of resources and identity papers, and poor health further prohibit children from attending school regularly.92

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Angola is 14 years. Children between the ages of 14 and 18 are not permitted to work at night, under dangerous conditions, or in activities requiring great physical effort.93 Children under 16 years of age are restricted from working in factories.94 Law prohibits forced or bonded labor,95 and in 1998 the Angolan Council of Ministers established a minimum conscription age for military service of 17 years.96 Trafficking is not prohibited in Angola,97 but prostitution and pornography are illegal under the general criminal statute.98

The Inspector General of the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment, and Social Security (MPAESS) is responsible for enforcing labor laws.99 However, since child labor is considered a family issue in Angola,100 child labor complaints are filed with the Ministry of Family and Women's Affairs.101 MPAESS maintains employment centers to screen out applicants under age 14. Fines and restitutions are the primary available legal remedies for the enforcement of child labor laws. Individuals may report child labor violations, but there is no standard procedure for this type of investigation,102 and reports of child labor complaints are rare.103

The Government of Angola ratified both ILO Conventions 138 and 182 on June 13, 2001.104


64 The Government of Angola and UNITA concluded a final peace agreement on November 20, 2002, which may lead to additional resources for improving the critical situation of Angolan children and adolescents. See Government of Angola, Angolans Complete Implementation of Peace Pact; UN lifts Sanctions, ReliefWeb, [online] December 31, 2002 [cited February 4, 2003]; available from http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/ByCountry/ Angola?OpenDocument&Start=4.58&ExpandView.

65 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 3017, September 2001. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2002: Angola, Washington, D.C., June 5, 2002, 23; available from http://www.state.gov/ g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2002/10679.htm. More than 70 percent of children have limited access to health, education, sanitation and nutrition services because they are not registered. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Angola, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 18-20, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/8217.htm. See also Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola: Important Note, ReliefWeb, [online] April 25, 2002 [cited September 6, 2002], 3; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/vID/CE7CF6EEF87D82D785256BD6006B39C0?OpenDocument.

66 Minister for Planning of the Republic of Angola, H.E. Madame Ana Dias Lourenco, Statement at the United Nations Special Session on Children, May 10, 2002; available from http://www.un.org/ga/children/angolaE.htm.

67 U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication to USDOL official, February 12, 2003.

68 Damien Personnaz, For Angola's Former Child Soldiers, Peace Brings Uneasy Calm, UNICEF, [online] 1996 [cited October 3, 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.org/features/feat171.htm.

69 Coalition to End the Use of Child Soldiers, "Angola," in Global Report 2001, [cited August 27, 2002]; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/report2001/countries/angola.html.

70 U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication, February 12, 2003.

71 Mary Thomas de Almeida, Promotion of Micro and Small Scale Industrial and Commercial Enterprises, The Embassy of the Republic of Angola, Washington, D.C., [cited December 12, 2002]; available from http://www.angola.org/relief/micro.html.

72 UNICEF, Relatório de Seguimento das Metas da Cimeira Muncial pela Infância, December 2000, 17, [cited September 6, 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.org/specialsession/how_country/edr_angola_pt.PDF.

73 The intended beneficiaries are 150,000 basic education students in rural and peri-urban schools with low female enrollment, low pass rates, and high drop-out rates for females. See World Food Programme, World Hunger- Angola, online, 2002, [cited September 6, 2002]; available from http://www.wfp.org/country_brief/ indexcountry.asp?country=024.

74 The average percentage of working girls within this age group was greater (31.1 percent) than that of boys (28.7 percent). Children who are working in some capacity include children who have performed any paid or unpaid work for someone who is not a member of the household, who have performed more than four hours of housekeeping chores in the household, or who have performed other family work. Government of Angola, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) Report: Angola, UNICEF, Luanda, April 2002, [cited September 6, 2002]; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/angola/angola.pdf..

75 The majority of these street children are male. See UNICEF, Relatório de Seguimento, 13.

76 Ibid.

77 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Angola, 21-22, Section 6d.

78 According to a local NGO in Luanda, about 500 to 1,000 children were working as prostitutes in the capital city. See Ibid., 18-20, Section 5. See also National Journal Group Inc., Angola: Children Survive War as Scavengers, Prostitutes, online, UNWire, United Nations Foundation, May 30, 2002, [cited October 3, 2002]; available from http://www.unfoundation.org/unwire//util/display_stories.asp?objid=2898.

79 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491, October 2002. In 2001, nearly 7,000 children and adolescents were drafted and recruited, some reportedly by UNITA as young as 10 years old. See Coalition to End the Use of Child Soldiers, "Angola." See also Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 2, 11. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Angola, 18-20, Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 3017.

80 Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Angola.

81 Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 10. See also ECPAT International, Angola, ECPAT International, [database online] [cited February 13, 2003 2003]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/ monitoring/online_database/index.asp.

82 U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication, February 12, 2003.

83 UN Commission on Human Rights, Preliminary Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, prepared by Katarina Tomasevski, 2001, [cited October 3, 2002]; available from http://www.right-to-education.org/.

84 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Angola, 18-20, Section 5.

85 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

86 Government of Angola, MICS2: Angola, 3.

87 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

88 UNICEF, Relatório de Seguimento, 16.

89 For a more detailed description on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

90 Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 1.

91 Ibid., 7.

92 Ibid., 10.

93 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

94 Ibid.

95 Ibid.

96 Coalition to End the Use of Child Soldiers, "Angola." According to UNICEF, only 5 percent of the births in Angola are registered, which causes problems when verifying children's ages for both military recruitment and school enrollment purposes. See also UNICEF, A Humanitarian Appeal for Children and Women- Angola, 2001, 2.

97 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Angola, 23.

98 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

99 Ibid.

100 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Angola, 21-22, Section 6d.

101 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491. Angola's primary law concerning child labor comes from Articles 29-31 of the Constitutional Law of 1992, which guarantee protection of the family and children. U.S. Em
bassy- Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2685, July 2000.

102 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

103 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2685.

104 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited October 30, 2001]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.

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